Submitted: 02-18-2002 by Bill
I have owned my 119k for about 5 years and primarily use it on fairly calm lakes and streams. I have customized it for additional stability and comfort -- the canoe lends itself to customizing for those with the inclination. If you don't mind being a non-canoe-purist (even the Olympics admit new sports and ideas from time to time) try taking out the seat and sitting on a closed cell foam camping bed pad doubled over on the canoe's bottom. For a back rest, put in a new thwart where you'd like your backrest, then lean a plywood backrest against the thwart. Secure the back rest to the thwart with ropes from the bottom corners of the seatback up to the thwart so the seat back can only slide down to that point. Very comfortable and adjustable. However, now you will want to consider a new way of paddling. One paddle in each hand. Buy an inexpensive double-bladed paddle designed for a rubber raft, take it apart and use half in each hand. Buy some rubber gloves to take the strain off your hands. Now you don't have to keep switching one paddle from hand to hand to keep the little darlin' tracking straight, even in a breeze. Or, you might like paddling with a stiff Frizbee in each hand. Then, you might make yourself removable custom plywood outriggers with floats that ride a couple of inches above the water on each side of the middle of the canoe. They only touch the water if the canoe tips to the side, and then the float (an inflatable boat fender) stops further tipping. Insures the dry, safe comfortable ride I enjoy in street clothes. Put marine varnish on all wood surfaces. Now you have your go-anywhere, lift easily, strong, attractive, inexpensive canoe to give you lots of pleasure afloat. Keep experimenting and please pass along your ideas.